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Christmas books

  • Celebrating Kansas Day

    kansas day

    Today is January 29 and most places in the US are experiencing the Polar Vortex that has descended on us in a most unwelcome way. But today is far more than that, yes. It just so happens to be the same day that the state of Kansas became the 34th state of the Union in 1861! A little history lesson here on the Christmas blog today, hehee. But, there is a party involved I understand.

    According to wikipedia, the people of Kansas have been celebrating this momentous day ever since 1877! It took them 16 years to find a way to commemorate the day, but once they did they never let go. That is a LONG time, like 137 years long. Have you heard of this holiday? I hadn't until just the other day, and it made me start thinking about Dorothy and those ruby red slippers of hers. What, you don't instantly think of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz when you think about Kansas? Okay, well here's another question for you. Do you know any little girls that would like to have a pair of those ruby red slippers? Maybe for Christmas? ;)

    slippersThe ruby red slippers could be used, obviously, as slippers, or for dress up, or they could sit on the shelf next to favorite dolls and simply represent the dream world of a little girl. They could be mounted in a shadow box and hung on the wall, never to be worn but always there as a reminder of the importance of dreaming. Whatever lesson you wish to convey, these adorable shoes would really please I think, don't you think so?

    I found several places online that give tutorials on how to make these metaphorical shoes, but I'm not sure we really need super detailed instructions for this project because it really is pretty simple. Here's all you have to do"

    1.  Just start with a pair of ballet shoes, and spray paint them red, two coats.

    2.  Allow to dry thoroughly, 48 hours should do it.

    3.  Lay out red sequins, and using a glue gun, attach the sequins to the shoes. (warning, this will take awhile)

    4.  Again, allow to dry. Once dry, shake them to see if any of the sequins fall off. If they do reapply.

    And, that's it. A really nice gift would be to give the book The Wizard of Oz along with the ruby red slippers. Any little girl would love these....and some big girls I know would too.

    Kansas, shoes

  • Building a Christmas Notebook: Lists

    Makin' a list, checkin' it twice, gonna find out who's naughty or nice . . . I've been humming this the last couple of days as I thought about the list section of our Christmas notebooks. Does anyone else live their everyday lives by lists?  Some of the best-organized people do. When I have a huge project or an insane amount of work to get done in a short amount of time, lists are definitely my friend. And, yes, I have been known to put things ON my list just so I can check them off! Anybody relate?!

    We are in the middle of a series of posts about how to put together a Christmas Notebook, that one place where all things Christmas reside to make your holiday season less stressful and rushed. We've already picked up our supplies, and have started our books with an Ideas tab at the front. If you missed the last post that gave tips for saving and implementing all of your genius ideas, you can find it here. Today, let's work on our lists.

    Who do you want to give a Christmas gift to? What about Christmas cards and all those addresses? And, events, what events are traditional for you and what others would you include if you were better organized? There are dozens of possibilities for lists, all determined by your own traditions and tastes! Here are the ones that I am starting with:

    • Christmas card addresses -- even though you have these addresses in a separate address book or perhaps even stored online somewhere, take the time to gather those addresses for this notebook. Keep track of who sends you a card each year; these are your primary relationships! Don't leave it up to your memory as to who you sent a card to last year or who sent you one.
    • Gift recipients -- of course your family members and some close friends will be on this list, but also remember the service people that grace your lives every day. Some ideas that come to mind are the postman/UPS/FedEx drivers, the newspaper delivery person, cleaning help, garbage collector . . . anyone who makes your life a little easier throughout the year. The gift doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate; it's the sentiment and the thought that count the most.
    • Events -- Christmas programs, plays, concerts, parades, parties and open houses (yours, too!). As you are notified of these dates, you'll add them to your calendar (which we'll get to later). If you host an annual Christmas open house and have a different theme each year, keep track of that here. When your calendar gets too busy to include certain events you hear about during the holiday season, jot them down in this section to plan to attend next year. You get the idea.
    • Recipes -- Oh the treasured recipes that are passed down through the generations! Keep a list of them here, and what cookbook or recipe file you store them in. Keep track of what you made last year that was a big hit, new recipes you want to try, and those secret family heirloom delectables!
    • Decorating -- Throughout the year some of your family members will get married, couples will have babies or adopt, puppies and kittens will become family members, and they are all going to need a stocking. We've got your covered on this one! With ready-made stockings to personalize and kits that you put together yourself, these stockings will become treasured heirlooms! So, when life events take place that add new members to your circle, jot their names down in this section. Also, if you put out lawn decorations or have a light display, are there pieces that need replacing or updating? Keep track of what you need for the following season, and then hit up some of the post-season sales. It's a great way to save a lot of money!

    What other lists can you think of to include in our Christmas notebooks?


    Photo courtesy

  • Unique Christmas Books for Kids

    When I was little, I remember several years in which my parents read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever out loud to us. There's a tape recording of the year that my brothers and I got to take turns reading chapters. A great memory! Now that I have my own children, I'm enjoying the search for additional Christmas reading options.

    This week we found a new one, albeit accidentally since it's still August! Uncles and Antlers, by Lisa Wheeler, appears to be a cute story about a little girl's many uncles. Each one is unique, with characteristics that remind me of my three brothers. And as my son noted, "this is a counting book, Mom!" Then at the end, there's suddenly a Christmasy twist to the story. (Maybe someone savvier than me would have figured this out a little sooner. Or maybe I should have had a little more coffee that morning!) Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Another favorite of ours is The Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota. Written by Constance Van Hoven, it presents lots of interesting information about our state in a clever, kid-friendly format. This would make a great gift for any Minnesota child, or from Minnesota grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles, etc. In a quick Amazon search, it seems that the series includes titles for most states, including Florida, Wisconsin, and Texas, each written by a local author. For ages 5 and up.

    Mary's Christmas Story offers a unique retelling of the original Christmas story. It was recommended to me by a friend who read one of the four sections to her children during each week of Advent. The warm, vibrant illustrations and relatable details bring the story close to home. As the mother of sons, wrapped up in the emotion of the season, I admit to shedding a few tears while reading this one. By Walter Wangerin, Jr. Ages 4-8.

    What were your favorite Christmas books when you were growing up, or which top your list for your own children?

  • Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas


    It can be tough to come up with ideas for stocking stuffers to fill up your Christmas stockings.  Sometimes the best stocking stuffer ideas are the things that you wouldn’t go out and buy, but like to get any way.  Here are a few unique stocking stuffer ideas for your Christmas shopping list.

    Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas

    • Comic Book
    • Quirky toys

    • Slippers
    • Movies
    • Event or concert tickets
    • Electronic Yahtzee or Solitaire
    • New socks
    • Pocket knife
    • Silly Putty
    • Nalgene Bottle
    • Temporary tattoos
    • BibleJournal
    • iTunes gift card
    • Restaurant gift certificate
    • Framed photo
    • Key chain light
    • Nerf ball
    • Funky nail polish
    • New markers/pen
    • Disposable camera
    • Personalized stickers
    • Coffee beans
    • Sunglasses
    • Stop watch
    • Fishing lure
    • Playing cards
    • Brownie mix in a jar
    • Gel frisbee

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  • A Christmas Stocking Story


    What would happen if your Christmas stockings at home got mixed up in the wash and nobody got the right presents? Hilary Knight explores this scary scenario in her classic book A Christmas Stocking Story. Her book is a classic children's story and the illustrations really make the book fun.

    Children's books are a fun party of Christmas traditions. A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and of course, The Night Before Christmas are all perfect for the Holidays. What is your favorite Christmas book?

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